Hellhole is a character driven, sci-fi story that explores the conflict of a corrupt star kingdom as its leaders cling to power amidst powerful winds of change. In the star kingdom’s remote colonies, the forces of change look toward one man: General Tiber Maximilian Adolphus, exiled on the planet Hellhole. Yet things become complicated when new forces arise on the planet.

The story revolves around General Adolphus. Exiled after a failed rebellion against the corrupt government of the Constellation, the General finds a new life on the harsh, remote planet of Hallholme. Nicknames Hellhole due to its lethal weather, flora and fauna, the planet is the last place anyone would ever want to go. But Adolphus bides his time. With the help of loyal followers, he rebuilds his strength and provides renewed hope for independence against the greed of the Constellation.

However Adolphus is but one entity in a rather large cast of characters. There is Goler, the planetary governor who comes to realize he’s working for a evil empire. There’s Louis and Keana, the starstruck lovers who cast aside politics in a naive romance that triggers chaos for everyone else. There’s Ishop, the Diadem’s trigger man for her corrupt Constellation. There’s Fernando and Vincent, adventurers who seek out a second chance on Hellhole and find a whole lot more than they bargained for. There’s Antonia, a mentally troubled refugee fleeing from a psychotic lover. The list goes on and on with literally dozens of characters who all play parts important to the story. Together, their journeys form a massive tale.

The story also has a rather significant curve ball in the form of a strange alien race. Known as the Xayans, these aliens seek out the humans on Hellhole for help. The Xayans hid their existence in mercurial pools to save their race from a cataclysmic disaster that destroyed their world. While their essence lived on, they have no bodies. This is where the humans come in. Through a symbiotic relationship, the Xayans can share bodies with humans. In turn, the humans gain knowledge, improved health and telekinetic powers.

While the story and the characters are very enjoyable, the Xayans add a whole new layer. On the surface, they appear to be forthright and altruistic. They offer a lot of tantalizing possibilities. All they ask for is to share your mind. But can they be trusted? Would you really want to share your mind with someone else? Do the people who make the leap of faith truly remain themselves? Through the story, these questions are raised and probed, never thoroughly answered. As the first book in a trilogy, it certainly creates interest in the series.

All in all, Hellhole is an entertaining read. While the characters may seem a little too one dimensional at first, they gain a lot of layers as the story progresses. The sci-fi elements add a nice flavor to the story without ever bogging it down with technical details. With a massive cast, there are plenty of characters to bond with; both good, evil, male, female, and even alien. The book manages to provoke some emotion and spin a fun plot that balances galactic strife with personal conflicts. I give it a four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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